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Alternate Jane – Higher Ground | Depths of Emotion

Get ready to be blown away by the sensational talent of Alternate Jane, the pandemic-hardened doctor-musician from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her love for music began with the edgy sounds of Evanescence and the unique style of Michelle Branch, which inspired her to pursue her passion for singing and guitar. As a finalist for the KL Performing Arts Centre’s Short + Sweet Song Festival in 2014, Alternate Jane has since established herself as a force to be reckoned with. Her debut single “Confidence” received rave reviews, and subsequent releases like “Skype Love” and collaborations with Dutch beatmaker Cruzu have garnered her a loyal fanbase. With over 30k streams on Spotify, “My Type” is a testament to her musical prowess. After battling Covid-19, Alternate Jane is back stronger than ever, ready to conquer the world with her music.

Get ready to be transported into a mesmerizing musical universe, as the latest masterpiece, “Higher Ground” from Alternate Jane, takes you on a breathtaking journey. The symphony is a harmonious blend of delightful guitar riffs, an earworm-worthy chorus, and the captivating voice of the artist herself, weaving a melodic web that hooks you in and refuses to let go.

But beware, beneath the catchy tune lies a subtle melancholy, like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. The song delves deep into a spectrum of emotions, taking you on a rollercoaster ride of puzzling mystery, explosive rage, and thrilling excitement. Through her music and lyrics, Alternate Jane flawlessly captures the essence of these sensations, drawing you into a world of complex emotions that is both haunting and beautiful.

The musical arrangement of “Higher Ground” is a fusion of romance and passion. But it is the vocals that truly take center stage – genuine and delivered with a level of artistry that is commendable! She epitomizes the experience of the song, drawing you in with her mesmerizing voice and immersing you in a world of raw and complex emotions. With every listen, this latest offering from Alternate Jane becomes more addictive, beckoning you to press play again and again until it becomes a permanent fixture in your mind.

We had an opportunity to interview Alternate Jane. Curious about what she had to say? Then keep reading.

1.      Hey Alternate Jane! Congratulations on your new single, “HIGHER GROUND. I really enjoyed the arrangement of vocals and harmonies in “HIGHER GROUND.” How do you approach crafting these elements in your music? Are there any particular techniques or processes that you find helpful?

A: Thanks for having me here. I’m glad you noticed the vocal layers and harmonies in this song, as it’s been the most challenging vocal arrangement I’ve worked on so far. I built the vocal harmonies to emulate the ups and downs of the exciting moments in a thriller, interspersed with moments of passion and anguish when pining for the mysterious main character. As I was going for a cinematic vibe, I decided to do this with a tighter harmony arrangement in this song with a gradual build up to the climatic end. This ranges from mild “Ooh” harmonies to individual phrases in the background with varying degree of emotiveness, which peak after the final chorus. I think I ended up with around 15 vocal stem files, which is pretty crazy. Not many people know this but I came from a high school choir background. Harmonies was something I was assigned with back then. After years of complementing the main melody line, it became more natural to come up with different harmonies for a song – either based on a chord structure or a spontaneous harmony idea. This is an experience that I’m thankful to have as it helps with composing and singing my own backup vocal parts.

2.      I read that the James Bond soundtracks were an inspiration for “HIGHER GROUND.” How do you go about incorporating specific influences into your music, while still making sure it sounds unique and true to your own style?

A: I adore the “James Bond Theme” a lot, so the jangly low notes on the guitar and brass section was something I knew I wanted to incorporate into the arrangement of “Higher Ground” to pay homage to the genre. It so happens that one of my favourite bands, Garbage did a song for a “James Bond” movie too, called “The World is Not Enough”. The James Bond theme songs of recent decades have started incorporating more modern beats and production elements, something that Garbage was a pioneer of since the 90s. This was the concept I wanted to go with as well, to arrange a song that is a hybrid of classic meets modern. I added my own twist by adding a bit of alternative rock elements to it along with the choral-like vocal harmonies as mentioned earlier. I discussed with my producer Melvin to incorporate a Linkin Park-inspired synth distortion in the intro and he added a slightly distorted rhythm electric guitar part that starts in the middle of the first verse too. Initially, I did the same with vocals by singing it in a rock style. However, Melvin suggested to change the vocal delivery of the song to a softer tone to smoothen the overall feel of the track, which also blends in better with the added layers and harmonies. This inspired me to experiment further with a different vocal delivery method in the second verse, which I’ll let you decide sound good or not haha.

3.      So, “HIGHER GROUND” is such a motivating and uplifting track! I’m curious, how did you end up collaborating with Melvin Rijlaarsdam (Optoproductions) on it?

A: A little backstory about my recording journey – I recorded my previous solo music singles with freelance Malaysian producers, who were only doing music on the side. Hence I was momentarily left with no producer when they respectively moved on from music to focus on different fields. This led me to enquiring local recording studios for production service initially, but things didn’t work out due to rejection or budget reasons. I tried asking some local musician friends but they couldn’t commit to the project. I’ve almost given up back then, but luckily I discovered another option for a DIY artist – the music creator’s platform, SoundBetter. This platform gave me the option of remote production work, which was really daunting but has the advantage of transcending geographical barriers and unlocking the option to work with producers from all over the world. The platform administrator also helps ensure accountability of all parties to make working remotely safer. After checking out the work of producers from US, UK and a few European countries, I looked to Netherlands as I believe there are many talented gems there as I discovered through my previous projects with beatmaker Cruzu, and that was when I found Melvin Rijlaarsdam (Optoproductions). I contacted him as I really connected with his arrangement style which I thought would suit the genres in my repertoire. He is a good listener who is genuinely enthusiastic about your song, enhancing your vision instead of imposing his own ideas upon you. I think that is an amazing quality in a producer.

4.      As I read, you were a finalist for the KL Performing Arts Centre’s Short + Sweet Song Festival in 2014, but subsequently focused on your medical career. What made you decide to return to music and pursue it more seriously?

A: To be honest, I took a much longer time to debut than other artists as I’d decided to focus 100% on my medical career after I completed medical school. Joining the competition back when I was a medical student taught me a lot, but I also caught a glimpse of the dark side of showbiz. For a long time, I wasn’t sure if it was something I could work with. So I spent the next few years undergoing Medical Housemanship (equivalent to internship) with full focus, but the experience caused a serious burn out and I wasn’t able to feel much joy. Locking music away caused a void to appear too, spiritually. During my final posting in Psychiatry, I was inspired by a story about regrets to not put away the thing that makes me happy anymore, which is music. It’s not gonna be easy, but I’m doing this as an indie artist at the moment, so hopefully having more creative and management freedom eases the pressure in this early stage of my music career.

5.      How has your experience as a doctor influenced your approach to music-making?

A: I recall describing the experience of being a doctor pursuing music as “from the outside looking in”, approaching from a calmer yet more careful perspective. I try to bring my qualities of being strategy-minded, dedicated and being able to follow through plans well into my approach as an artist. Meanwhile, self-funding this small scale project directly influences the type of music I end up making as there is no pressure by any patron to make certain music. I’ve been able to bring my pop rock compositions to life by sourcing my own team to work with, which would otherwise have been difficult to do if there was pressure to adhere to certain music trends. Realistically, I’m aware that making music that’s different from latest music trends reduces its commercial potential. I’m keen to explore trending genres through my growth as a songwriter, but just didn’t want to be pushed headfirst into the river of trends haha. Overall, coming from a medical background, I really appreciate the experience and opportunities presented to me in this industry.

6.      What can we expect from Alternate Jane in the future?

A: Alternate Jane is a growing artist who is learning the importance of visual content and being able to connect with the audience to create a lasting bond. She realised that ordinary posts and announcements are not enough to inspire the audience to save a song or even listen to it. In the near future, there will be more attempts to make meaningful content that communicate more with the audience and reveal more of Alternate Jane’s personality. There will be more interactive activities and live performances arranged in the upcoming months. I’m hoping that this will help people connect better with Alternate Jane, the artist, despite my personal shortcomings in marketing and promoting my alter ego’s work. I noticed that when you make a strong first impression and let your personality shine through various activities, a captivated audience will actively search for your music and follow your progress on social media. That is the kind of artist I want to be, making a positive impact on people’s lives however hard it might be to achieve as an introvert.

Enjoy listening to Higher Ground here.

Check out our playlists here!

Discovered via https://app.musosoup.com/submit/SinusoidalMusic

Promotional Disclaimer: The content in this post has been sponsored by the artist, label, or PR representative to help promote their work.

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